Toyota has completed more than 5 million repairs on U.S. vehicles affected by a series of recalls for defects which could cause unintended acceleration, the Japanese automaker said Monday.
The three massive recalls announced in late 2009 and early 2010 undermined Toyota's once stellar reputation and led to U.S. congressional investigations and a record $16.4 million fine to settle claims it hid gas pedal defects blamed for dozens of deaths.
Toyota said that some 80% of the 2.3 million U.S. vehicles affected by the "sticky pedal" defect have been repaired while 86% of the 148,000 Prius and Lexus vehicles recalled because of braking problems have also been fixed.
The response rate was significantly lower on the 5.4 million vehicles recalled because floor mats could get trapped under the gas pedal: only 58% of recalled vehicles have been taken to dealership for repair.
"The remedies for the floor mat entrapment issue were announced on a rolling basis [model-by-model] for the first eight months of this year," Toyota said in a statement. "Now that all of the remedies are available, Toyota is seeing a moderate increase in the completions."
Toyota has also added a brake override system to all new Toyota vehicles currently sold in North America while all 2011 model year Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles are being equipped with enhanced 'black boxes' that record pre- and post-collision data.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010